Lightweight Flexible Nylon Foam Unveiled

21st September 2011
Posted By : ES Admin
Lightweight Flexible Nylon Foam Unveiled
Zotefoams has unveiled a new, lightweight polyamide co-polymer, flexible thermoplastic foam material, ZOTEK NA30, that it claims is suitable for a wide array of automotive applications such as undershields and bonnet liners, engine insulation, air ducting and a variety of die cut and thermoformed spacers.
“Automotive engineers are constantly looking for weight savings in order to reduce emissions by improving fuel efficiency and every last gram counts,” said Rob Trinder, Zotefoams Product Manager for Polyamide materials. “However, weight saving must not be achieved at the expense of mechanical and thermal performance.

ZOTEK N A30 is the lightest polyamide (nylon) foam material ever to be produced commercially, at only 30 kg/m3. It has outstanding high temperature performance properties and has a maximum operational temperature of 170°C making it ideal for applications within the engine compartment.

A further outstanding property is the product’s inherent tolerance to hydrocarbons, oils, greases, brake fluids etc making it ideal for automotive applications that may come into contact with fuels, lubricants or functional fluids.

“The use of foam materials to simply address NVH concerns are over,” continued Trinder. “Functional foam components are now used throughout the vehicle for many applications. Being crosslinked, Zotek N can be thermoformed into complex shapes that provide mechanical functionality in addition to sealing, thermal and acoustic insulation properties.”

ZOTEK N foams are already being used in composite constructions for under bonnet applications and a major manufacturer is developing lightweight climate control ducting using the combined mechanical strength and insulative properties of ZOTEK foam.

The Zotefoams manufacturing process uses only nitrogen gas as the foaming agent. The complete absence of chemical foaming agents removes a major potential source of VOCs the major cause of both fogging and odour in foams. Zotefoams materials have been analysed in accordance with various standards including VDA 277 and VDA 278.

As with all foams produced using the Zotefoams 3 stage process, Zotek N has a consistent, controlled cell size and structure with no density profile or cell orientation. Being expanded in a free environment these foams are virtually stress free, an important requirement for cost effective conversion. Zotek N may be fabricated by traditional means including sawing, routing, drilling, water jet cutting and die cutting and can also be thermoformed using heat compression moulding and vacuum forming techniques.

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